Moffitt Onco Update

Outcomes Published Show Speedy Discharge for Brain Tumor Patients Treated Using Awake Craniotomy

June 28, 2017

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Arnold B. Etame, MD, PhD
Neurosurgeon, Scientist, Assistant Professor USF College of MedicineMoffitt Cancer Center Department of Neuro-Oncology

New findings on awake brain surgery have just been published in the journal of Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery. In a consecutive series of 76 patients undergoing maximum-safe resection for primary and metastatic brain tumors, awake-craniotomy was associated with a short hospital stay and low postoperative complications rate.

In the recent study, the latest outcomes data on awake craniotomy performed at Moffitt Cancer Center showed that more than 75% of patients return home in 24 hours or less, and the neurosurgery team was able to safely resect tumors either completely or almost completely in 95% of patients. 


  • Awake-craniotomies are associated with decreased surgical morbidity for eloquent and non-eloquent area lesions.
  • Awake-resections were associated with shorter hospital stay in our cohort.
  • Awake-resections facilitate a smooth transition to adjunctive therapies in our cancer patient cohort.

Awake craniotomy allows surgeons to assess patients’ functions intraoperatively. By remaining conscious during an awake craniotomy, a patient can help a surgeon avoid essential gray matter surrounding a tumor, while removing as much of the tumor as possible and safely preserving movement, language or speech abilities. The procedure can also help reduce the chance of complications or deficiencies. An awake procedure is pain-free and has a shorter recovery time than other brain surgeries.

Moffitt Cancer Center is leading the way with innovative surgical strategies that facilitate safe removal of brain cancers; with a successful awake-brain-surgery program and also a tractography program, which allows surgeons to understand and avoid damage to critical white matter bundles adjacent to the tumor.

Read more about brain tumors: Facilitating Post-Op Success